The Washington Football Team has officially announced Martin Mayhew as its new general manager. Here are five things to know about longtime executive.
1. Mayhew won a Super Bowl with Washington.
Before he became a respected league executive, Mayhew was a cornerback out of Florida State who was selected in the 10th round of the 1988 NFL draft. After a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills, the 5-foot-8 Mayhew caught on with Washington in his second season and was an integral part of the secondary from 1989-1992.
His career highlights in the burgundy and gold include starting 48 games and making 13 interceptions, seven of which came in 1990 when he finished tied for third in the NFL. His next season was the most memorable, though, as Mayhew (108 tackles, three interceptions, one touchdown) helped Washington win its third Super Bowl championship under legendary head coach Joe Gibbs.
Mayhew played his final four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making at least 13 starts and 69 tackles in every year to go along with eight interceptions, five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries and a touchdown. He also played in seven playoff games during his nine-year professional career.
2. Mayhew's career as an executive began in the region.
Mayhew did not just want to be the best NFL player possible; he was also thinking about life after football, and he envisioned becoming a general manager some day.
Instead of waiting until his playing career concluded, Mayhew took night classes at Georgetown Law School for a year and a half before leaving Washington for the Buccaneers in 1993. He retired three years later, and three years after that he interned in Washington's personnel department.
In 2000, he graduated from Georgetown with a J.D. degree and also served as a Labor Operations and Legal intern for the NFL -- all of which has set him up for a long and successful career as an executive.
3. Mayhew has been a general manager before.
Mayhew quickly rose through the ranks with the Detroit Lions. He began as the senior director of football administration/staff counsel (2001-02), became a senior vice president in 2003 and then was promoted to senior vice president and assistant general manager in 2004. After four seasons in that role, he achieved his post-playing career goal of being a general manager in 2008.
His task was far from easy -- he took over after Detroit's winless season -- but by 2011 he turned the Lions into a playoff team with a 10-6 record. Three years later, they were back in the postseason at 11-5.
The biggest reason for the franchise's resurgence was quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Stafford quickly became one of the most prolific passers of the past decade and has maintained that success, becoming the fastest player to throw for 20,000; 30,000; 40,000 and 45,000 passing yards in his career.
In addition to Stafford, Mayhew also hit on a pair of top 5 picks in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (2011) and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (2013). Suh has been one of the best at his position since being drafted, making the Pro Bowl five times and being named first-team All-Pro on three occasions.
Other highlights during Mayhew's eight-year stint as general manager include trading away wide receiver Roy Williams for three draft picks and signing wide receiver Golden Tate and safety Glover Quin in free agency, both of whom became Pro Bowlers.
4. Mayhew helped build the San Francisco 49ers team that went to the Super Bowl in 2019.
When John Lynch was hired as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, he had no previous NFL executive experience. So, to help him build what would quickly become a conference champion, he hired Mayhew, his former teammate with the Buccaneers.
"My relationship with Martin spans more than two decades, and in that time I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for him both personally and professionally," Lynch said in the team's announcement of the news. "Not only do we gain a tremendous talent evaluator, but also a highly experienced front office executive."
Mayhew spent two seasons in that role before being promoted to vice president of player personnel in 2019 and helping the 49ers draft defensive end Nick Bosa second overall. With Bosa joining an already stout front, the 49ers went from 4-12 to 13-3 and steamrolled the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
5. He brings two decades of front office experience to Washington.
Mayhew knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl as a player and understands how to build a Super Bowl contender as an executive.
Now, he'll bring all of that experience to Washington, joining forces with head coach Ron Rivera and executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney to turn an exciting young team into a consistent winner.
"Martin is a proven general manager who will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organization," Rivera said in a press release announcing the hire. "He will be an integral part of running the daily football operations and will allow me the opportunity to focus more on coaching. He impressed both myself and Mr. Snyder during the interview process, and we both believe he will be a tremendous fit here. He is a man of high character and integrity and was part of the rich history and tradition of this great franchise as a member of the Super Bowl championship team in 1991."
Mayhew and Hurney will report to Rivera as a part of the franchise's new coach-centered approach, but it will be a collaborative process. Rivera knew he could not build something special alone, and now he does not have to. With a combined 48 years of executive experience, Washington looks to be set up for years to come.